England all-rounder Ben Stokes has signalled a return to playing cricket. Stokes’ videos on Instagram showed the all-rounder batting for the first time in a net session at an indoor facility since taking an indefinite break from the game in July this year.
After posting a picture of him gripping a bat on Instagram on Monday for the first time in six months, Stokes posted three encouraging videos on Thursday where he was seen practising his shots from throwdowns.
“It’s casual clothes training on a Thursday… Generally my first ball back and this is what happened (laughing face emoji)… Then a bit of making sure I don’t break my toe… Then eventually hit a nice one… Great to be back hitting balls.”
Commenting on Stokes’s post, pacer Jofra Archer wrote, “First ball might be 4 anyway (doesn’t matter how they come).”
Wicketkeeper-batter Jos Buttler commented, “Like riding a bike.”
Stokes had pulled out before the start of the Test series against India and will not feature in the men’s T20 World Cup as well as the 2021/22 Ashes to focus on his mental well-being and healing his left index finger.
Stokes had suffered a fracture to his left index finger while fielding for Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2021 in April. After leaving the tournament, Stoked needed surgery. In July, Stokes led a fresh ODI team to a 3-0 series win over Pakistan when the first choice team was unavailable due to COVID-19 outbreak.
Stokes had a second surgery in October to remove scar tissue and two screws from the left index finger. Stokes taking baby steps into batting again will fuel speculation on whether Stokes can still be a part of the Ashes in Australia later in the year.